Information about my law practice concentrating on advocacy for people with disabilities, seniors and their families. Get to know me not only as a lawyer, but my personal interests, passions and family activities.
This week, researchers published the hopeful findings that, even
after age 4, many nonverbal children with autism eventually develop
language. (Read our news story here.)
For good reason, families, teachers and others want to know how they
can promote language development in nonverbal children or teenagers with
autism. The good news is that research has produced a number of
But before we share our “top tips,” it’s important to remember that
each person with autism is unique. Even with tremendous effort,
a strategy that works well with one child or teenager may not work with
another. And even though every person with autism can learn to
communicate, it’s not always through spoken language. Nonverbal
individuals with autism have much to contribute to society and can live
fulfilling lives with the help of visual supports and assistive technologies
Seems there are many things to celebrate in the month of April…including
Occupational Therapy! Yes April is OT Month and as a therapist myself,
it’s like having a month long birthday! If you are a parent or
caregiver with a child with special needs or a teacher that works with
exceptional students, then you may be very familiar with the role an OT
can play in helping to promote independence in sensory motor, cognitive,
social and daily living skills development. To learn more about the
profession, visit AOTA.org.
Want to wish your therapist a happy OT Month? Here are some of my
favorite picks that are sure to please both therapist and the kids they
So, at the D-MAN Foundation, we’ve made
it our mission to build a state-of-the-art music therapy program
adapted specifically for the special needs of quadriplegics and other
physically and cognitively challenged individuals.
With assistive technology including
“sip and puff” modules that allow the use of computers hands-free,
severely disabled people will be able to record and produce their own
music in our new D-MAN Music Therapy Studio.
The doors to our studio will be open
and ready for our first patients to begin their personalized music
therapy programs on April 13, 2013—Danny’s birthday.
We’re beyond excited about bringing this breakthrough program to disabled people in our Metro Detroit communities.
And there are hundreds of patients who want the opportunity to change their lives for the better with music therapy.
Equine Therapy: Straight from the Horse’s Mouth
with Claire Dorotik, LMFT. Claire has made a specialization of equine
facilitated psychotherapy, developing an equine assisted
psychotherapeutic approach that has proved highly effective in restoring
emotional and physical balance to those who have battled trauma, abuse,
and eating disorders.
She has written many articles for Horsetrader, Ride, and Flying Changes magazines on the subject of horses and horse training, and is also a contributing author to Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy: Straight Talk from the Horse’s Mouth, a continuing education course for psychotherapists currently offered by the Zur Institute in San Diego.
Saying the current permanent visa programs for immigrants are
“insufficient and inadequate” to meet long-term care staffing needs, the
American Health Care Association outlined its vision of immigration reform Wednesday.
“A critical part of any immigration reform package must take into
account ways to supply the U.S. economy with the workers it needs to
recover from the downturn and grow,” said Mark Parkinson, president and
CEO of AHCA.
The association is asking for employers to have access to previously
unused H-1B temporary work visas for nurses and physical therapists, and
for the government to waive the cap on employment-based visas for
nurses and physical therapists, speech therapists and those providing
other therapies. There were approximately 60,000 vacant direct care
staff positions as of 2010, according to an AHCA study.
Rendering effective mental health services to students in special
education who have ASDs and need mental health services in order to
benefit from their IEPs can be done cost-effectively. It requires that
the right combination of expertise and skill assembled for each
student’s treatment team. It also requires well-designed mental and
behavioral health treatment plans that include detailed descriptions of
how the skills taught in therapy will be generalized to natural settings
such as the classroom, playground, cafeteria, or school bus. The
treatment team would need to function like a well-oiled machine, each
complementing the work of the other.
The savings to society of doing it right would far exceed the costs
of delivering a successful program. More importantly, there are just
some aspects of independence upon which no dollar value can be placed.
To be supported in becoming as independent as possible by one’s fellow
citizens affords some of our most compromised citizens access to their
Constitutional liberties, and that’s something of which one can be proud
to be a part.
A particular type of memory training combined with a Montessori-based
approach to daily living can decrease depression in dementia patients
by improving their eating habits, according to a recent study.
Researchers at Taiwan's National Yang-Ming University conducted a
study involving 90 people with dementia. Twenty-seven participants
received routine care. Sixty-three participants went through 24 sessions
involving spaced retrieval therapy and Montessori-based activities.
Spaced retrieval is a therapy in which people are asked to remember
something repeatedly, at increasing intervals of time. Montessori
involves doing daily living activities in a sequential, repetitive way.
The participants who did the combination therapy were better able to
remember proper eating habits, which corresponded to a higher body mass
index and less depression than the control group, the researchers found.
The state has only 44 board-certified behavioral analysts to provide the
kind of therapy that Mahdi receives and that autism experts say is the
most effective for many children. Plus, there are only a handful of
centers around the state that can offer a thorough diagnosis of autism
-- a step necessary to tapping into therapies covered by the state's
three largest insurers.
"The challenge is expanding fast enough," said Diane Chugani,
director of the autism center where four board-certified behavior
analysts serve the Noureddine family and 77 others. There is a waiting
list several months long while the center tries to add three more
It's not clear how many Michigan children
are autistic, but at least 15,000 children and young adults in Michigan
are receiving services through schools for autism, said Colleen Allen,
president and CEO of the Autism Alliance of Michigan.
San Juan Capistrano's Shea Center for Therapeutic Riding was founded
in 1978 with one therapy horse, one rider and two volunteers.
Today, the center serves more than 400 riders every year, with 26
horses and more than 200 weekly volunteers. The center offers a variety
of riding classes specifically designed to address and improve the lives
of clients with disabilities.